SEDONA IS ALL ABOUT mind, body and soul. People come to this Arizona haven seeking solace, healing and adventure. No doubt, no one goes home disappointed. The moment your eyes set on the massive red rocks, the awe puts you on the path for transformation.
Nothing is ordinary in Sedona, which lies two hours north of Phoenix and 30 miles south of the Flagstaff peaks. At Red Rock State Park you can take a guided hike with SPEX Sedona Philosophy Experience. Start your walk with meditation by a gurgling creek and let the adventure begin — and, possibly, the tears flow. You think you’re merely going to make your way to the top of a peak, but it’s much more than that as you tell your life story and learn from the wisdom of great minds like Socrates, Descartes and Aristotle shared by your guide. Suddenly things make sense.
Keep the flow going with a visit to one of the 15 spas. A Spa for You Sedona Day Spa and Sedona’s New Day Spa prove two of the best. Don’t expect what you’ve experienced elsewhere. At Sedona’s New Day Spa, treatments include Native Wisdom Spa Rituals like Wheel of Life Gem Stones Reading, Sweat Lodge and Vision Quest. The Desert Nature Body Treatments feature Turquoise Sage Mountain Arnica and the Cedarwood Citrus Wild Chapparal.
Not only can you feed your soul in Sedona, but the cuisine is impressive, too. You’ll discover places like Mariposa Latin Inspired Grill, Cress on Oak Creek and Elote Café showing off the area’s finest gastronomy. But then there’s the quirky, comfortable, make-you-feel-good Chocola Tree Organic Oasis restaurant with its gluten-free, vegetarian, no-processed-sugar, ultra-healthy, tasty, creative food. Its marketplace offers food, supplements, essential oils, local artists’ crafts and jewelry, books and more. What makes it really special is the backyard and a patio area with tables and chairs for dining and gardens where some of the produce is used in the restaurant. There are a couple of hammocks and aerial space (think Cirque du Soleil) where people can “play at their own risk.” They offer educational programs at the restaurant including meditation, gardening (so people can learn to grow their own food), food as medicine workshops, live food classes, om chanting and more. All that and they make awesome, healthy chocolate. It’s so Sedona. Sweeter still, there are wineries and breweries in the area.
No trip to Sedona is complete without soaking up the sacred vortex energy said to open your mind and have healing powers. Sedona has the distinction of having five vortices. The favorites are at Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock and Boynton Canyon. Each is unique; some rev you up, some put you in chill mode. After your encounter expect to feel different, rejuvenated. Enhance your experience with great talk during your exploration. Take a guided tour with Sedona Soul Adventures.
There’s no shortage of places to do yoga in Sedona, even at a vortex, through Aumbase Adventures. Similarly, you can find Reiki treatments, meet with psychics and get tarot readings in this town. The sky is so clear you’ll want to take the Sedona Stargazing tour with astronomers.
If your preferred therapy is of the retail kind, no worries; you can find an array of art galleries, boutiques and shops to cure what ails you. As for places to serve as your home away from home, they range from uber luxe resorts like L’Auberge de Sedona and villas to creekside cabins, Airbnbs and everything in between. For sure the Sky Ranch Lodge features one of the best Red Rock views, overlooking Sedona 500 feet below.
As much as Sedona is about peace of mind, it embraces tourism, comprising about 70–75 percent of the economy. The goal is continuous improvement. “Three new hotels are likely to open in the next 18–24 months; we’re exploring ways to make the community even more bikeable and walkable and to expand our bike lanes and come up with better parking solutions,” says Molly Spangler, director of economic development, City of Sedona. In the next two years many organizations and the U.S. Forest Service Red Rock Ranger District will work on the Western Gateway trail system project to give hikers, bikers and equestrian riders 27 new miles of trails, according to Kegn Moorcraft, director of communications, the Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Board.
What makes Sedona a great place for business or pleasure? Says Moorcroft, “Your spirit will soar and rejoice in the silence of nature when you explore Red Rock Country. Seek off-the-beatenpath sites and reconnect to the Earth, your family, your partner, your children and your friends.”
On a drive from Sedona to Phoenix, you might have a hard time focusing, as the views of the Red Rocks and vistas are hypnotic. It’s not only picturesque but also peaceful. Along much of the 115 miles you’re in no man’s land, so you won’t have to worry about heavy traffic.
In less than three hours, you can go from one natural phenomenon to another as you journey to the Grand Canyon. The drive from Sedona, north through Oak Creek Canyon, a 16-mile gorge with streams and waterfalls, proves incredible, and you haven’t even gotten to the Grand Canyon yet. Be prepared to be wowed by Mother Nature from start to finish.
Head to Payson, Arizona. After leaving Sedona and passing through Camp Verde, you’ll go through a town called Strawberry. It’s rustic, charming and home to the oldest schoolhouse in Arizona, built in 1885. The nearly 90-mile drive to Payson includes twisty roads in the High Pines. Make a pit stop at the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park. Once in Payson, hike, bike or drive to the Mongollon Rim, a 7,000-foot escarpment that exhibits a dramatic drop of more than 2,000 feet to the valley below.
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